By Buddha Blaze Pictures by Sebastian Wanzalla
A major African Cypher happened right in front of my eyes at the cozy Sky Lux Lounge in Westlands, Nairobi as I attended the listening party for Nigeria’s top record label – Chocolate City. Mtech brought together Nigeria’s Ice Prince Zamani, Kenya's new kids on the block – Camp Mulla and Botswana’s freshly baked rapper Zeus known for putting his country on the map during the continental rap championship - Emcee Africa a few years ago. This cypher couldn’t have come at a better time than now, after the much talked highly charged BET Awards Cypher that has had the hip hop community talking for the last few weeks.
BET The Cypher 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9vJURtOUGY&feature=related
THE CYPHER IN SESSION
ZEUS MIC MURDERING
ICE PRINCE SHINING
It’s not often that you find African MCs from different countries in the same room cyphering. Even when African MCs gig together it’s usually a commercial gig. When cyphers do happen it’s usually Nigerian and South African MCs that get the shine. In fact the most asked question about the BET Cypher was why it only showcases Ghanaian and Nigerian MCs. That decision can only be articulated by BET but here were in that moment. Some people call it luck – I call it being in the right place at the right time. It’s moments like these that one needs a good film camera but unfortunately I didn’t have one and neither did anyone else. The club lit up with phone cameras.
SKY LUX AERIEL VIEW
The Big African Cypher was an impromptu decision by the night’s MC 1FM’s Adelle who called the MCs on stage and asked them to grab the mic. Before you knew what there was a cypher in session. It happened so fast any weak MC would’ve declined the opportunity for some reason. How many times have you heard this – “No man I don’t freestyle anymore” or “No man I only came for the function I’m not ready”. The worst one is “Please talk to my manager”. Those are the kind of MCs that’s probably made already not really hungry for the microphone.
BUDDHA BLAZE WITH DJ CREME CHILLING
BUDDHA BLAZE WITH IKE FROM MTECH
For a devout hip hop head there is nothing as ecstatic as being in the presence of a dope cypher session. You can make hit records and all the money but the ultimate high of being in a cypher session with other giants. DJ Crème set the tunes, first it was Camp Mulla who everyone should watch out for - these kids are not to be messed with lyrically. Then it was the ‘Aleke’ hit maker Ice Prince Zamani who recently appeared on BET The Cypher (Nigeria); he quite frankly comes on top of Africa’s list of rhymers then there was the lyrically unfuckwithable Motswana kid Zeus who just completed the equation. I learnt one lesson – always walk with your video camera.
MC ADELLE WITH CHOCOLATE CITY CEO YAHAYA MAIKORI
Ice Prince was in Kenya to perform at the Kenya Film Festival that attracted alot of film personalities who were also at the cypher.
NIGERIAN AMBASSADOR WITH MOVIE STAR GENNEVIEVE NNAJI
RAMSEY IN THE BUILDING
ICE WITH MADDTRAXX
ICE & BRYMO
Camp Mulla previous freestyle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=befax_rQq1Y
Ice Prince Zamani previous freestyle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8da_ex6ORc
Zeus on the Emcee Africa track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SotkgE1N-M